A sixth, and the most senior so far, journalist involved in the alleged phone hacking scandal within the News of the World is to be named in an episode of the BBC’s current affairs programme Panorama tonight.
The programme claims that Alex Marunchak, the paper’s former senior executive director, “commissioned a specialist snooper who illegally intercepted email messages from a target’s computer and faxed copies of the to Marunchak’s News of the World office”, reports the Guardian.
If the allegations are true, it further refutes the paper’s parent company’s claim, News International, that only one of its journalists was involved in the illegal news-gathering, and also heaps further pressure on Scotland Yard which, after jailing former royal correspondent Clive Goodman in 2007, decided not to pursue the case any further.
The programme also claims that the illegal practice was taking place in July 2006, when the former chief of communications for the prime minister, Andy Coulson, was in charge of the paper. Coulson has repeatedly denied any knowledge of what his staff were undertaking at the time.